The Duchess brought back a Matthew Williamson dress for today’s Place2Be Headteachers School Conference in London.
It was a brisk, windy day in London when students from Crescent Primary School greeted the Duchess; she was welcomed with a bouquet from Aaliah Beckford–Cordier. This gives you an idea how windy it was this afternoon when Kate arrived at Place2Be headquarters.
Place2Be is a school-based support program for children coping with problems like neglect, bereavement, domestic violence, and other traumatic issues. Kate is the charity’s royal patron.
Last night we saw Kate deliver remarks at the Fostering Network awards, today the Duchess was at the podium again. Place2Be conference organizers asked her to deliver opening remarks for the Conference’s afternoon sessions.
I often get asked why I decided to spend time highlighting the mental health of children. I imagine my answer might be similar to many of yours.
I know that I was lucky. My parents and teachers provided me with a wonderful and secure childhood where I always knew I was loved, valued and listened to.
She talked about being fortunate to grow up in a “wonderful…secure childhood” where she she knew she was “loved, valued and listened to.”
Of course, not all children have the anchor of a strong family. Many will arrive through your school gates feeling a real lack of love and devotion in their lives. This often leaves them feeling insecure and without confidence and trust in the world around them. That is why your work is so important.
The Duchess spoke strongly about the need for more assistance in the children’s mental health arena.
Parents, teachers and other school staff need the tools to help these young people early in their lives. And the earlier, the better. It is proven that early action prevents problems later in life.
Kate spoke for roughly 3 to 3-1/2 minutes. Royal correspondents Richard Palmer of The Express and Victoria Murphy of The Mirror commented on the improvement in Kate’s public speaking skills. More from Richard Palmer’s story:
Aides said the address, at the Place2be Headteacher Conference in London, was “very much her own” and one of several speeches she is expected to make when deemed appropriate in the coming months.
Kate watching one of the afternoon’s presentations.
Today the Duchess was in an ensemble previously worn for a Tusk Trust benefit in April of 2012, a dress from designer Matthew Williamson’s pre-fall 2012 collection. It features ornate beading, an exposed zipper in the back, and peplum detail at the waist, a design element we see on several of Kate’s dresses, jackets and tops.
She accessorized with the pieces worn for the film premiere in 2012: her Natasha clutch by Emmy Shoes (£350, about $535 at today’s exchange rate).
And her Emmy Valerie heels, also in carbon grey (£400, roughly$610). The Valerie is described as having a “…discreet platform to help manage the sexy 115mm heel.” That is about a 4.5″ heel, probably 4″ when the platform is taken into consideration.
Kate also wore her Cartier Ballon Bleu watch. We show it at Amazon ($4233), it is also offered at Saks ($5750) in the US; in the UK you will also find it at Saks ($5200); the watch is also available at Selfridges (£3800, about $5900).
And she had on her relatively new Kiki McDonough Lauren pave diamond leaf earrings.
This was a good choice for Kate on a day when the focus really needed to be on what she said, not what she wore. She looked elegant but nothing about the dress, bag, shoes or jewelry took away from the focus on her speech. Unfortunately Kate’s bangs/fringe were a distraction, especially during her speech.
Kate’s speech today dovetails perfectly with an exclusive story by Camilla Tominey in the Sunday Express about the Duchess’s desire to demonstrate she is “more than just a pretty face.” From that story:
The mother-of-two plans to step out of William’s shadow to take her own charity work to “the next level”, according to royal insiders.
This portion of Camilla’s article quotes an unnamed Palace source:
“When it comes to her charities, the Duchess has always read up but now she feels it is time to speak up too. We have already seen her leading the conversation about children’s mental health and she has taken great confidence from that.
“This is all coming from the Duchess. She is going to be making more speeches and we will be hearing her voice coming through on a lot more royal engagements from now on.”
Behind palace gates, household staff have become increasingly frustrated by the media focus on Kate’s clothes….
Obviously this is What Kate Wore, not What Kate Said. However, I think today in particular, it is important to report on what appears to be a major change for the Duchess in the role she is taking with causes and charities that she is passionate about. Our coverage of Kate’s events and engagements will continue as it is now, with posts first relating information about the function Kate is attending, and then covering what Kate wore, but I think the steps Kate is taking merit noting in this space.
Here you see the 2012 and 2015 looks side by side, along with the dress on a Matthew Williamson model in the center of the montage. Some may remember that Kate’s version of the dress had the jeweled trim seen at the cuffs added to the neckline of her dress.
A case could be made that the frock was too dressy for an afternoon workshop and conference, that the heavy embellishment at the neckline and cuffs make it more of a cocktail dress. I can see the argument, but think it worked for today’s engagement, one that was probably a little nerve-wracking. I could be mistaken, but I imagine Kate wanted to be comfortable, both literally and figuratively, in what she wore for the Conference.
We will see you Friday for all of Kate and William’s engagements in North Wales.
- Visit Place2Be’s website here to learn more about the charity, read more about today’s conference here, you can also follow the organization on Facebook here, and on Twitter here
- If interested in reading the entirety of Kate’s speech today it is available here
- Richard Palmer’s story in The Express is here, The Daily Mail‘s coverage is here, PopSugar’s oversized photo gallery is here
- Camilla Tominey’s exclusive in the Sunday Express can be seen here